04 May 2018
On 01 May, McDonalds workers walked out of branches across England calling for guaranteed hours, a £10 per hour living wage, equal pay for young workers, and union recognition.
The strike follows the UK’s first-ever instance of industrial action taken against the fast food chain last September.
Despite photographs of packed picket lines being published on Twitter under the hashtag #McStrike, McDonalds claimed only one worker had taken part in the action.
The BFAWU, which organised the strike, dismissed this as “nonsense”. “How is McDonald’s supposed to know how many are on strike, both in franchised and corporate stores?” a spokesman for the union told the Mirror.
“They must have a list of who they think are union members and compare that to the rosters,” he added.
BFAWU told the newspaper: “The strike has been amazing, the workers are jubilant, the amount of public support has been incredible.
“The workers feel like they are on their way to victory.”
Speaking to the Guardian, Professor of employment relations at the University of York, Tony Royle, said the dispute showed there is growing anger among workers about precarious work, low pay, and a decline in union representation.
“McDonald’s is a multibillion-dollar corporation which continues to pay its senior executives sky-high salaries while paying low wages for the vast majority of its two million employees,” he said.
“Young workers in particular have felt the brunt of the ‘flexible’ labour market and austerity government policies and are increasingly frustrated, angry and ready to fight for a more just workplace.
“It’s now 40 years since McDonald’s entered the UK market. Today’s strike and the strike in September 2017, despite McDonald’s’ attempts to play down and undermine [the action], could be the beginning of a shift in UK employment relations.”